Showing posts with label Heart of Dakota. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heart of Dakota. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Reflections on this past year with Heart of Dakota C to C, and changes for the coming 2013-14 school session

So, my thoughts are a bit scattered lately and that is just mostly due to the outside distractions going on.  Namely the baseball season.  Our son is the first of our four kiddos to actually play in an organized league for sports and wow-talk about a commitment of time and energy. Whew.  Almost to the end of the season and looking forward to it.  Anyway-on top of that, summer is here (well we keep telling ourselves that b/cuz the weather apparently missed that memo) so there is much outside work to do as well.  I frankly haven't been much into blogging/FBing or anything lately either.  So my long promised post on the HOD program and other thoughts sit idle in my brain.  I want to change that tho and start blogging a bit more frequently and after bball season, I may be able to truly start thinking and planning out the coming school year.

That said...I have decided to do just a basic pros/cons ditty on the HOD program.  Since everyone's experience and tastes/likes are so vast and probably unlike mine-it only makes sense to just note those bullet points instead of launching into some long post about it.

So here we go:

Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ Program thoughts:
image from HOD site

*Nicely laid out and easy to follow. Little or no prep outside of the arts/poetry sections.
*Covers Bible, history, science, math (if you want to follow the suggested program), writing, geography, poetry, literature/reading, lang. arts (to an extent, as I am not 100% sure on that since I didn't do their suggested program). [I may have missed a subject as I don't have my guide anymore-so check the website for all that].
*4 day program allowing for 'catch-up' on 5th day or family activities/fun (or whatever) on non-scheduled day.
*Non-overdrawn assignments that are adequate and not overwhelming (esp. for younger/struggling students) with extension options for those kiddos who want more to do.
*Not extremely expensive compared to other lit/larger 'all in one' programs.
*Many of the books they suggest are easily found via the library for those on very tight budgets.
*Charlotte Mason inspired. offers good supply of literature (well for all the reading/history so yah) to satisfy most literature loving families. (You can always supplement with more for the veracious readers).
*My son enjoyed learning about these eras and he walked away with a new knowledge of it-which means he learned something-and believe me when I say this: that doesn't always happen when you use a program.
*Great appendices that list all the info needed for suggested books, supplemental work for older students, etc.  Very helpful and easy to use.
*Loved the Bible choice!
*Copywork and diction, very CMy.

*Art lessons for Poetry are very redundant.  Would have liked to see different mediums/styles taught (not that one cannot do that, it is just when not all are artsy and can figure that out/do it).  I understand the need to keep supplies limited but more techniques and mediums should be taught.
*No personal study of the actual poet (Robert Frost) is included.  What?  That defies CM methods and needs to be added (see my post about adding extras into the program) to get a better feel for who he was and why he chose those type of subjects to write about.  I added it but I am used to finding that stuff and teaching it-to those new to CM or not having ever done an Artist study it could prove to be too much to pull together and therefore,  discarded.  :(
*No musician study. [She never advertised it would be included, but if following the CM method, it would be nice to have the musician and artist study included] Again-another "What?" There are plenty of choices and should have been included at least one dude. Since Robert Frost was studied and he is totally not in the era of creation to Christ (which is to be expected since we really don't have that data on poets or musicians from that era) then a composer or musician from his time frame could have and should have been included.  
*No artist studied either but there are drawing/crafting activities that pertain to the eras so that is OK here for this time frame.  There is enough to give examples of what art was like/used to express in those cultures.  Could there have been more-yes.  Necessary-eh, probably not.  Like the poetry and musician concerns, you can always add in more to your liking.  The point here is that when you buy an 'all inclusive" (well for the most part) program, you expect to see it there.  I knew this going in (say for no personal study on Frost) so it didn't surprise me.  If you read the descriptions you can see it isn't there. But boy would it be nice for future printings.  :)
*Like many programs-I feel the age range is not correct, meaning I would suggest this particular one for kids in 6-8th grade for most families.  The suggested 9-11 seems -well WOW, I don't know many 9 yr olds that could handle this.  I have my thoughts on aging a program and it usually is below what the author/publisher suggests..but that is another post for another day.
Some of the stuff (like the study of the History of Medicine) was kinda deep and heavy.  Younger kiddos may have a lot of that stuff fly over their head.  For HOD, I wanted to actually get the guide below this one but it had too much stuff we had already done-and we really needed to do C to C-so I went in knowing it may be too much at times since my son is dyslexic and struggles with reading.  I suggest you know your kid and make your decision (for any program) based on their skill level.  My son had no problem understanding the material-he just could not do a lot of on his own or we had to tweak/drop some things b/cuz he simply was not ready for it. 
*Didn't like the geography choice. Dry, boring and so we actually dropped it mid-way.  I couldn't do it.  There are other great programs out there and I am not the only one to say this about it.  

And that is that.  As with anything-it all depends on your family, your kids and their personalities/learning styles and skill level.  It was a good fit for what I needed this year, my son learned and I didn't have to 'think' too much.  Which with all we have swirling around us was the point for purchasing it in the first place.  For this coming year, I am going back to what I know works super swell for us and the things we missed.  There is a reason my shelves are stocked with this particular program and I am happy to report we're going back 'home' to it.  

SO what is on tap for the coming year?

I am glad you asked (well if you didn't, you're gonna read about it unless you click off this post now...).
Ah-well I am excited to report that we are going back to our old fav:  Beautiful Feet Books history guides! WHEW!  I guess I am more of a control freak than I thought as I like to 'cut and paste' different things together to create a program for our year that is tailor made to us.  We're going back to workboxing too!  With a program like HOD you kinda don't have the option (without a ton of unnecessary work) to workbox.    My son spent a lot of time 'wandering and wondering' and I just got sorta checked out this past year b/cuz I was a passenger not the driver.  Not gonna happen again unless we are knee-deep in the adoption process or something....

Here is what we're gonna do this 
coming 2013-14 school year:

*Beautiful Feet:  California History and Westward Expansion
(I just need to get the W.E. guide cuz it is relatively new and gasp! I don't own it-yet)
This is a fun one-takes us from Europe when exploration was just getting revved up, to seeking out different continents/peoples and faster ways to the Orient.  Then we'll move on to the expansion of the US to the west coast.  Think gold rushes, transcontinental railways and pioneers with steely souls searching for their little paradise. Literature based and notebooking and timelining and all that fun stuff.  

*Beautiful Feet:  Geography study using Hollings C. Hollings books.  We're done one map so far but I saved the other 3 (due to difficulty and the subject matter) for now.  [I have the older guide, not sure what improvements have been made but since he is our last student (at this point) I am not repurchasing. I am satisfied with the one I have.] 

images from Apologia site
*Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 and 2 plus the notebooks.  
We've done the Astronomy and Zoology 3 already. Looking forward to these two this year.

*Italic Handwriting by Getty-Dubay.
Simply moving along to last two books.  Love these. 

image from Scholar Pub. site

*Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading Level 2.
This is a continuation to the first level that has been working for him. Dyslexia sucks people-just sucks. There I said it.  We started with it a few weeks ago and so far, it's working great. I am holding off starting the Little House study til September. 

image from Rainbow Resource website
Learning Language Arts Through Literature Purple Student Book | Main photo (Cover)
*LLATL Purple level.
I am going to cherry pick thru this because he get a lot from the Phonics Road study but it will give us a few more literature options and cover grammar, copywork and dictation. I think I could put him in the Tan level but we haven't done much with grammar and this one highlights Farmer Boy-so we're keeping with the Little House theme with this level.

*Math-well here is where I am stymied.  We've been using Abeka but I have Saxon and when I get a moment I will go thru the Saxon 54 or 65 to see where he'd fit best. Otherwise, I will get the next level of Abeka and go from there.

*Artist/Musician study: TBD  (working on selections and will post once I have them)

*Nature Study: TBD on the focus 

*Latin:  Prima Latina and then quickly move to Latina Christiana 1
I have held off on this due to the reading issues but want him to start on it.  He should be able to handle the switcheroo to Latin back to English (esp. since much of our language is Latin based) so we're gonna try it. This will also help with our nature study and science lessons.
Who Am I?
image from Apologia website

*Bible:  Apologia Who Am I? and scripture study
We did book one already and will just continue on with the series.  We'll also do verses and prayer study like we did this year.

And of course we'll get back to our workboxing to pull this all off!  We missed it and altho it is more work for me, the organization and his knowing what to expect are so worth it! 

So that in a nutshell is our experience this past year and what we're looking forward to exploring this year. Now to get some energy to start planning, get the final products I need and come up with some fun works and projects too.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Supplementing Heart of Dakota-Creation to Christ Poetry unit and Human Body unit

If you are a follower or if you just pop by to read up on the Heart of Dakota [HOD] program we have been using this year, you are probably familiar with my feelings on it by now, but I wanted to highlight a couple things we have done that has taken outside the box.

I found we (personally-as this may not be for every family so keep that in mind) needed to do something different regarding one recommend book for science; and that one area definitely needed a more in-depth investigation-the poet Robert Frost.

I have the Considering God's Creation [CGC] curricula (which I have been plucking units from for about a year and 1/2 now) that has a section on the body. After we read the book Exploring the History of Medicine (very good book!) we simply have moved into this study.  I ditched the An Illustrated Adventure in Human Anatomy book that was scheduled (I had received it via the library inter-loan prior to the Exploring History one...and it needed to be returned before we came to this section-I didn't feel it was worth trying to re-hold/check out again as I have enough human body books on our shelf that are very similar to this one) and that is why I chose not to follow that part. Plus, being we are lapbooking/notebooking sorta folk-the CGC fit the bill perfectly. So we have been working our way through this unit and are just about done.  I am very satisfied with it and find it is just the right amount of info/work for our boy.  Again-this stresses the need for the instructor to look at what does and does not fit the student or situation when using an all-encompassing type of guide such as HOD.  Just because it is listed and recommended does not mean it must be used.  Esp. when you are at the mercy of library loan books, and other circumstances that require tweaking. [image from]

As for the lack of any biographical data/study on the poet Robert Frost...well here is where I was sadly disappointed with this section.  It is very Charlotte Masony to study the person and not just their work.  So being that I am versed in scrounging up data-I found a few things to offer the boy as a backdrop into who this dude was. The one I got via the library is older-so not everyone will be able to find it.  It is Robert Frost: America's Poet by Doris Faber. I have to say it was a very nicely written book that hits all the key points a book should when following the CM method for choosing books-it was twaddle free. :)  Anyhoo-I saw the other listed book below via Amazon, but was not able to get a hold of not sure how great it is but looks to be written for children and looks lovely.  If I do get my hands on it-I will come back and update my thoughts on it.

Robert Frost: America's Poet by Doris Faber

Papa Is a Poet: A Story About Robert Frost by Natalie Bober

Product Details
image from

I also downloaded these free notebooking pages on Robert from 
to give him some opportunities to jot down 
some essential data and such.

I have also pulled those noted human body books from the shelf and we refer to them when needed. Again-I am using what I have to wrap up this unit and it is all good.  Just not what was originally outlined in the study.

And now for one of my favorite projects the Boy has done so far...and yes, it is a fav because he put some personality into it.  Our floating-head skeleton boy with a Barber of Seville curly mustache and a rocker dude goatee. [I say-if you do this study-dry place the pieces prior to the child gluing unlike us. Otherwise, you too will end up with a lovely floating, non-connected skull]

And that my blogger peeps is how we tweaked our HOD study to fit us and our current needs.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

HOD C to C History Project: Ancient Roman Meal

As we are winding down in the study of the Romans, we were to partake in a mock "ancient" Roman meal.  We managed to find some similar foods (we avoided other kinds the kids would not touch with a 10 foot pole) and we think it came out lovely.  The only big thing we didn't do were the togas.  Just couldn't get the fam to go that far.

We had the yellow bowls with water and the blue cloths for wiping one's fingers clean between food changes. They didn't use flatware. We had cucumbers, almonds, salami, provolone cheese, grapes, mango (OK, not sure if they had that-probably not but I had one we had to use and it went well with the selection...we were progressive thinking Romans); also olive oil/ feta cheese/Italian seasoning together with hot bread to dip in it. I didn't make a suggested dessert they listed b/cuz I had just made brownies the day before...and we did not need any more sweets around here, but there is that option if you choose to do so. I wanted to get some sparkling grape juice to represent wine but I simply forgot to go down the isle when I was shopping for this stuff..ooopsies.  All in all-it was a fun activity that even dad was able to partake in with us!

This was a part of the Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ study.  But if you are going on your own or with another curriculum and are studying Rome, it is an easy and fun way to bring history alive.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rose Dissection

So my precious husband gave me a lovely red rose for Valentine's Day.  But alas, it is now crumbling and so-being the clever homeschooler I try to aspire to be (but fail to be actually, a lot of the time), we are going to dissect it today.  Yes-my rose will have served two purposes. One as a token of love and affection-the other as a great botany specimen.  So the table has been set with the goodies needed to disassemble it so the boy can see the parts of the plant we have been learning about for the last several weeks.  Since it is winter here, finding plant life to investigate has been a challenge. Thanks to Valentine's Day-we're going to have a real live, up close and personal view of a flower and its seed boxes, stamen, pistols, dust bags, etc.
Of course, the boy will be drawing what he finds in his plant book we have created for this study.

Using the ebook: Plant Life in Field and Garden by Arabella Buckley (thru the Yesterday's Classics collection which I reviewed a few years back-you can read about that program here), we have discovered a lot of interesting facts and along with the study notes provided in the Heart of Dakota program for the Creation to Christ program, this is shaping up to be a fun study.

Hey, if you are interested in the Yesterday's Classics, they have a sale going on until February 28, 2013 at half off! That is an awesome price for all those books!  I use it all the time-and I don't have an eReader, but just have uploaded the free Kindle PC app to my computer.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ancient Greece and Archimedes study continued

As previously noted, we are moving through the Heart of Dakota study: Creation to Christ. We're currently up to our laurel leaves in ancient Greece.  Here are some notes and projects on what we have done these past few weeks. I put the name of the study in ( ) for those who are new to the abbreviations.


images from
With HOD (Heart of Dakota) we have been able to substitute a few of the suggested books under the historical reading area.  I came across the Magic Tree House books (again-I sorta forgot about them but my older kids liked them way back when) and found they have one devoted to the Olympics/ancient Greece. I reserved it through our local library and also found they created an additional book to go along with it to give more info on Ancient Greece! Score. So These two books served as our mystery book selection.  If you decide to use these two just look for them via your library or maybe you already have them on your shelves. It was not a difficult read or challenging to say the least, but the additional info book served to rehash what he was learning throughout the study itself.  [They are: Magic Tree House #16: Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne and Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #10: Ancient Greece and the Olympics]


Sorry it is blurry. I found this idea via a MOH (Mystery of History post...sorry not sure where it is tho...). Basically the student colors with yellow crayon a wide area all over the paper. Then colors over it with black. This is the tricky part-if your paper is not higher grade, when you etch, it will rip or not work right. So anyway-yellow then black over. Press very hard to get a nice thick coat of black. Then etch out a vase shape, and then design.  We tried many things and found-get this...the Pampered Chef scraper tool to work the best. I know-go figure.  If you don't have one, try a sculpting tool used for clay projects or Play-Doh (seriously, check your kids stash) or an edge of something sharp but not dangerous.  They will get that black shavings everywhere so I had the boy do it over a spread out sheet or two of newspaper.  Messy.

He decided on an octopus and waves for his. We had a book open with various pics showing different art/vases found from that era.  The people [very popular theme] would have been too complicated so the four legged [must have been in an accident or something and lost a few limbs] octopus made the cut (or in this case 'etch'). Be careful about what books you use.  I keep thinking of the movie The Birdcage.  I silently chucked when thinking back on that moment in the movie when the dude's dad and his mate had the table set with their dishes that were Greek inspired (cough...dudes playing 'leapfrog' not).  Yah. Go thru the material first unless you want to explain how the Greeks were very, very free with some things.  I found these books to be safe enough [some may want to cover a few images if they seem a bit too racy]...and again-got them via the library:

Product Details
The Nature Company Discoveries Library:  Ancient Greece  
(this is a Time Life book and shows no official author)

Product Details
 Uncovering History: Everyday Life in Ancient Greece 
by Cath Senker
(images from

We did an experiment found in the Science Projects Ideas in the House by Robert Gardener.  This is noted as a part of the BFB HOS (Beautiful Feet Books History of Science)  program that I am piggy backing with HOD.  I didn't think it would work but it did. 

I spotted this beauty on Ellen McHenry's site some time ago, then had to wait til we were into the Greece study.  Just look under the free downloads icon, then Geography/Maps.  You can find some ancient China, Rome and Japan stuff there too. This does take a lot to print so be sure your ink and paper levels are good to go.  This is fun once you get the hang of it.  Dad, the boy and I managed our way thru it by mostly guessing, but learned along the way. And he was getting (well us too) some geography lessons in there too. Score again. 

And there you go.  Some more ideas on studying Ancient Greece.   

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Archimedes project

Here is a fun project we did as a part of the BFBooks History of Science guide/curriculum.  The boy wasn't being super neat but he was also using a big, chunky charcoal pencil from our art supply so that probably didn't help.  I just taped the paper to a dowel and we stuffed it in the labeled paper towel tube. I still have to scrounge up some yarn for the carrying strap, but wanted to share with ya now.  I will get pics of the notebook up soon-once we have more stuff in it as it is pretty sparse yet, since we just started it this week.

Again-as the other post noted:  I am piggy backing this unit with the HOD study to beef up the Greek section    because it is fun :) and adds a bit of spice to it.  It is just my way, nothing against what is already in the HOD program.  I also found a neat art project to do via the Mystery of History website and will share that once we have completed it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

HOD: Creation to Christ updates on projects

If you have been following the Heart of Dakota posts, I guess you'd appreciate an update right?  It's been a while.  Sorry about that, but here is a snippet of some of the projects.  Mind you-I failed and did not order the notebook that goes with this program, so I have had to create a lot of my own stuff.  I am still considering it but with only 16-17 weeks left, I dunno if I can now justify the expense.  I may just continue to make my own pages and call it a day.  I will let you know what I do, but for now-here are some of the poetry and history things we have done so far (we're at week 18).

As stated in earlier posts, I am not super impressed (sorry Carrie, not meant to be a slam-it is just me I guess, I like variety) with the likeness of the art projects.  I would love to see some revision with a  few more techniques taught for this area.  Since I do love art, I have been able to bring in my own flare here but for those who don't have such an artsy background-well it could prove to be too monotonous for their student (as it was with mine) but they may not know how to fix it. I suggest getting a few art books or programs and adding in projects that closely relate to the original if possible [yes, I am aware this defeats the purpose of an all-inclusive program.  Since no one curriculum is going to hit a bulls-eye every time, it goes without're gonna have to add your own personality here and there in order to keep the boredom and ho-hum away] .

Anyhoo-in the leaf one, we did splatter painting on top of the leaves (quite close to her instructions) so that is not a new one there, but the blue one has salt added over the watercolor to give it texture and a different look.  It is one of our favorites so far.  The bottom one with the tree is OK, neither of us were liking that look too much.  My son actually begged me to not make him paint so much these past few units. I agreed, so I have only required the copywork for a lot of them-hence the lack of pics to show you.  The reason I am even going down this bunny trail here is that  it totally illustrates the need for you to remain in control of your curriculum. If it doesn't fit your student or needs help-well by all means TWEAK away!  The coming months should prove to provide more opportunities to add in some projects that may not be included in this program. Once we encounter that, I will be sure to post. But for now, thought I would share that little tidbit.

History Projects

This is the salt dough project we did.  I had trouble finding a good map, so it is probably not super accurate. Oh wellers, he got the gist of it.  LOL....

I believe this has it's own page in the notebook, but obviously without it-I had to improvise. It illustrates how the tribes were divided and the student can take the cloth strips and place them into the appropriate sections, like the prophet Ahijah did, as described in the bible.  I do like a lot of her history projects so that area requires few changes (would be a lot less around here if I had just bought that darn notebook when I got the guide..but hey, money was tight and I had to get the minimum...lesson learned)....


Seen now this is where I cannot leave well enough alone.  I have loved (since I pretty much began homeschooling) the Beautiful Feet books programs (I have a much older version, I am sure it has been updated since I bought mine many moons ago).  The History of Science is no exception.  I like to have the student focus solely on this program for their science either in 5th or 6th grade...but with the HOD program...I let it slide....until now.  I knew it covered Archimedes.  I wanted to beef up what is in the program because the boy just isn't doing (too much and over his age/abilities at times) of the rest of the program so I knew I could add some stuff, yet keep it from being overwhelming.  So we're going to at least do the Archimedes lessons in the BFB program along side HOD's reg. schedule (the Archimedes and the Door of Science is a part of the HOD program as well).  I have  created his science notebook that he will keep his notes, pictures and discoveries in (as per required in the BFB program), along with the timeline and the books for this unit.  I also reserved a boat load of books from the library on ancient Greece, scientists and such too.  I will probably have him cover this 2-3 times per week.  I will see how it goes and obviously, post once I have a good handle on it.

Right now that is pretty much all I have considered and am working on. I will hopefully start the artist study soon and composer. We're still working on the reading and writing so I have to keep that as his main focal point but all these things should prove to make this coming month more exciting.  Now if I can just get the gumption to post more frequently.  :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sonlight VS Beautiful Feet and another option tossed in for good measure

Amy asks:
Hi Sheri, I have twin 12 yr. old girls and am undecided between Sonlight's Eastern Hemisphere core (which has been overhauled this year) and Beautiful Feet (probably the Medieval Period). I just stumbled on BF. Seeing that you've done both, do you have a suggestion? 

Here are the programs she is asking about:

Sonlight Core F: Eastern Hemisphere*

(image from Sonlight website)

*I am basing my opinion on the older version that I own.
The updated one offers 3 weeks to look over and appears to easier 
to read/use.  I won't have access to the updated version until late June when
it is available. Please keep this in mind when pondering this info.


(image from BFBooks website)

Sample pages can be seen by scrolling 
thru the cover image on that page.

*I do not have the updated version so all of my opinions are
based on the old one but by looking thru the samples,
I see they have vastly improved the look/layout and
it is much more appealing to the user

And just for giggles-let's toss into the bunch the 

(images from Heart of Dakota website)

*I have not used either of these two guides, but am currently using the
HOD Creation to Christ one. The layout is the same, the subjects 
covered are the core plus a few extra just like the C to C guide.
I tossed these two in because they hit the era that you mentioned
you'd be interested in for the Beautiful Feet choice. On each page
with the description you can download a sample of the pages for a
better look at what they offer.

There are obviously many more history program choices, but the reader asked specifically about the SL or the BFB so that is why I am focusing on them.  I added the HOD because the layout and coverage is quite similar.  Remember, it all depends on what best suits your family and their current interests. We use them all-mostly because of the eras they touch on and sometimes due to the amount of time I have to put into preparing the material and teaching it.  

Factors to consider:

*The era you want most to cover 
*The manner in which your child(ren) best learn
*Literature vs textbook or unit learning-which best fits your family's style and preference
*Your pocket book-these can be spency unless you do what I do (I will write another post on how to save money on books later)
*Your life right now-is is crazy busy?  New baby?  Family situations that are demanding more time that usual?  A recent or soon to be move?  Any big events that can change the amount of time you have to invest in the planning/gathering and subsequent tutelage of it to your student(s) should be taken into consideration so that you choose a program that is easiest for you and your students to work through without causing undue stress and possible burn-out (for/in you or your students)

Now that you have pondered those factors-you can turn your attention to the program's strengths and weaknesses.  Mind you-this is my opinion and experience noted from this point on.  What worked for us may not for you and vice versa. You ultimately need to decide on what you know will work, take a bit of a risk to test something you never have tried before and just roll with it.  Some of the programs I thought would never hold my kids' attentions or work for them-did. Others I thought were just "perfect" for us went over like a lead balloon.  The nice thing about the above programs is they all hold good resale value and some even offer money back take it with a grain of salt and for those who believe in this-PRAY about it first.  It will make a huge difference in how things go.

They are all good programs in their own right.  All use literature as the foundation of the program and all have some type of layout to follow (which remember-you do not need to do everything!).  All adequately cover an era/time frame so that the child will have a good grasp of basic history in those areas.  Some include additional subjects already figured out in the plan (math, science, lang. arts, writing, etc.) others have a bit of it and some only offer the history with some vocab/writing assignments (BFBooks).  It all depends on what you need and are looking for.  I strongly suggest going over each site and reading through all their information to get a better grasp of what they offer. I also strongly suggest downloading the samples, and asking your dear daughters to look over it too so they can see which program best matches what they like.

Here is the chart you can go over. It is not extensive in all areas-but a brief (personal) overview of them.  I am basing this on my guides and how they worked for us. Right now we are using HOD's Creation to Christ program so I am basing the info on what I see on the site and what we have experienced by using the C to C guide.  I hope this helps by offering some 'real world' opinion/advice.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Odds and Ends

We wrapped up another unit in the HOD Creation to Christ study.  So far, so good-the boy seems to like it.

We have done a few projects covering poetry (which I am sadly not real keen on-I dunno why poetry is not my thing but it isn't).  Thankfully, HOD's C to C covers Robert Frost who is one of my favorite poets (well just about only poet I truly like) so I am glad we're covering him. We have done a couple copywork lessons from some of his poems, to which my son is required to paint a page to paste it one.  The boy has done this without complaint and that makes me happy b/cuz he is not really my artsy child. Now personally, I would like to see some variance on the techniques and mediums used for these projects (but seeing how we've only done 2 of these I can guess I have to wait and see if other ones change up a bit) because too many similar styles will lead to boredom and I don't want that for my I will get back to you on that...but here are the two we did...

The glare from the flash makes it hard to read...but the goal was accomplished.  Those are suppose to be sticks in a stream (blue one) b/cuz the poem talks about cleaning one out.
Maybe we should have glued a bunch of sticks on it instead to give it a more realistic feel...maybe we will still do that. :)

In the history section, we have had a project involving salt dough.  Now thankfully, this recipe didn't require baking it (you can read my salt dough fiasco post here) so that was good. What we failed to do is read ahead and clarify the directions because we messed up a bit.  But hey-that is what makes it truly our project!  LOL...

So we were suppose to make a cylinder shaped thing that had our names on it in Cuneiform. What we misread/misunderstood was that it was suppose to be in reverse relief. That means that whatever we wanted to have impress images onto something else, we had to cut away from to make those images stand out-we did the opposite instead. Our cylinders are marked into and cannot leave an impression. 

these are kind of blurry but I tried to get close so you can see the Cuneiform writing on them.
Son's on left, mine on right.   

The Cuneiform cylinders on left, building on right

We also had extra dough (yes, there is a story for this too). Now I should have read ahead to see what we'd be doing with it, but the boy was enamored with brick building parts of the stories we were reading and begged to make his own. So we did.  We got quite a few and then once they were dry, he created a small foundation of a building (like we'd find in an area of ruins)...we glued them together with flour/water paste and he happily built an old house.  What we were suppose to make was a clay tablet with writing and then use our cylinders to impress our name stamp on (like they would have done back then). So again-we proved ourselves to be rebels.  

View from the side, you can see the "mortar" that was used to hold these together. It is kind of fragile but I have a picture of it now, so if it collapses or ends up in the trash [which it will], I still have a photographic record of it. Helpful tip: taking pictures of all those projects your kids make is easier to store and keep than actually holding on to every single thing they create. Save the best ones and take a pic of the rest.

That said [that we're rebels], it also is my point. We took something and made it more personal to us (my son had much more fun and learned more by creating his project than if he had done the one assigned)...and since the brick making/building went hand in hand with what we had been reading about (tower of Babel, jobs of some people, etc.) I let him do it. That is the beauty of homeschooling-the project fit him, not the other way around. Years ago I would not have dared to overstep the guide's assignment. I am so over that now because life has taught me to adjust, personalize and focus on the child's learning style/interest, not what any particular lesson/program says they should/must complete. We learned, we laughed and we didn't burn any projects. Life is good.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dinosaurs study for HOD Creation to Christ study

So as a part of the Creation to Christ curriculum, dinosaurs are studied. But not as in depth [of a study] as I want-so I am adding in some goodies for the boy and we'll just mosey along at our speed covering a bit here and there from the resources and activities I have, as well as the study in the guide.

I was looking through my shelves and found most of what I was searching for.  I have to hit the stash in the basement for a couple books (including the dinosaur joke book my hubby had as a kid) but for the most part,  I will use what is shown in this picture.  I am sure I will add a few more notebooking/lapbook components as we go through the unit but this is a good start.

I was just drifting off to sleep the other nite when my brain snapped on and reminded me that I had a set of dinosaur pictures [bulletin board set] that I bought eons ago when the two older kids were very young.  I have not covered the dinos like I have had wanted to with the boy, so I am excited for this unit.  He has always enjoyed dinosaurs (those Jurassic Park movies are on his top 10 list-even tho they are gross) so this should be fun!

We have very, very limited wall space in the education room, so I had to put these puppies up on the entrance walls [which is kind of angled, hence the two pictures to show all of them].  This spot is actually good b/cuz the boy sits so he can look up at them, at any time.  I DID NOT put the evolutionist time line up-what I want to do is put up a couple note cards highlighting a few Bible verses that mention the leviathan.  The little people are to show the scale (although this is far from being accurate) of the dinosaurs to humans.


(you can get the Answers books there too)

the other books I probably got from Amazon

I have no idea where I got the dino bulletin board set-
it would have been from a teacher's store/catalog

The Adventures in Science: Dinosaurs booklet is 
probably out of print-it came in a group of activity books
 that I also bought years ago.  It has a bunch 
of activity pages and I will just pick and choose
 what we want to do.

OH YEAH!  I just remembered I have the 
Dinosaur and Things Game by Aristoplay!

I bought this when my oldest was about 4/5 yrs old!  By the looks of the box, you can tell it's been played with a lot!  :)  Even tho the boy is on the outer age limit noted on the box, we'll still play but be sure to add those question cards to make it a bit more difficult. And yes, we know this shows millions of years as the dates-we simply ignore them.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Heart of Dakota: Creation to Christ curriculum for the boy

So after much deliberation, examination, ponder-ation, and prayer-ation:  I took the leap and bought the guide to use with the boy.  We have been skimming along with history this year because we simply didn't have the cashola before the start of this school year to purchase much material.  So we made do. Which is totally acceptable, esp. when I have a boat load of books on the shelves. We wrapped up a few snippets of American history from our previous study...but it didn't last long.  So we've been lacking in that subject for him for the most part! Ouch!  That is not acceptable for this history loving mama!  So I debated. I am was sadly devoid of early/beginning times to ancient civilizations for my elementary age kids (well now it is just one kid) and so I wanted to find something-something that would hit that era with good coverage but not be so in depth or overwhelming that he'd run in fear every time we did our history lessons.
image from Heart of Dakota

So after reading my good friend Lynn's 4 posts on the Heart of Dakota curriculum....and after all those "ation" thoughts noted above...I felt good about purchasing the guide which covers creation to Christ.  I already have most of the books needed on my shelves or in my 'puter (as eBooks) so it wasn't hard to make the final decision.

Anyway-I received the guide today and I will start to get a handle on what I need to do [read thru it to figure it all out], wait for a couple books I had to order and get him started in another week or so.  We'll just keep on with it until it is done (probably sometime next spring).

I do love how the Charlotte Mason style is integrated into the whole enchilada.  With HOD (Heart of Dakota) the plans cover Bible, History, Science, Lang. Arts, Narration, Copywork, and she has math (Singapore) scheduled in it too.  I use Abeka math for the younger years, so (as noted in the guide) we'll do our own thing.  I will also throw in a bit of my own ideas/plans for lang. art stuff (I am not using their Reading Program) and am changing the science up a tad (he doesn't want to cover the human body so I will do a more in depth study of dinosaurs since we haven't really had the time to do that. I may be able to toss in a bit of the human body stuff later).

What is missing is the study of great artists/musicians and nature study.  So maybe when I get some time I will write a complimentary guide to go with it on those very things :) But that is OK, I do my own thing with those anyway and I enjoy coming up with my plans for it. Actually, I have decided to continue on with the Impressionist artists and plan on adding in a bit of a mini-study on Egyptian art and poss. Roman/Greek art too. The musician has yet to be determined, and nature study is always a breeze to include.

So there you have it-our new way of doing things for the boy this year and next.  I will try to post some updates as we move through it but until then, take a look see at what my pal Lynn wrote (some great, thorough posts) about HOD.

(about the Preparing Hearts for His Glory but the layout is the same for the other guides and it gives you a good glimpse of what the goal/layout is)

From my pal, Lynn's blog:  Ladybug Chronicles